It is currently Sun May 27, 2018 8:27 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:58 pm 
Offline
Member

Joined: Sep 22, 2013
Posts: 885
Stars and Smoke
by RuwinReborn
Status: Public :diamond:


Aloise kicked her feet idly, gazing up at the night sky. It was cool and clear, and the stars glittered far off in the distance. Even as a planeswalker, the stars felt beyond her reach. She wondered if maybe some day she would be able to go to that place - where the stars were. Some planes did not have stars, but she wondered if they connected those that did. She wondered what those far off lights really were.



A much more dim, but closer, light flickered in the fickle breeze.



Aloise glance at the little flame, noting that nothing had changed, and looked back at the sky. Still, being reminded of the little fire had distracted her, so she sat up on the flat stone upon which she had been reclining and sighed. Still nothing. She had suspected that she was being lied to, but that did little to temper her inquisitive spirit.



The source of the fire lay on a small rock not far from the much larger rock she was sitting on. It was a tiny, round coin with a hole in the center. When the hole came into contact with fire, she had found, it maintained a small, heatless flame, seemingly indefinitely. As far as she had seen, the little fire that was not really fire was harmless. It could not set fire to anything. She had even carried the lit coin in her pocket for a day, just to try it out.



Still, she came out here to this meadow every night because she had been told that was how to make it work. She had been swindled before - although she was not sure if she could call it “being swindled” if she had been given the little trinket freely. If she counted her time as a valuable resource, than she had probably been cheated out of that. But she always found efficient and meaningful ways to spend it. At least, meaningful to her. She supposed seeing how many different colors of wings a single species of moth had would be considered a waste of time to some people.



She picked at her leggings, then adjusted her blouse, and sighed. Looks like tonight was a bust. It had been about a week, which was about as long as she was willing to run her experiment. If even a fraction of what Bjorn had said was true, it would be quite the useful font of information if she could get it to work. But the instructions had been vague at best, and she had to grudgingly admit that Bjorn had probably gotten a good laugh out of the yarn he had spun.



She sighed deeply, again. She liked to trust people, but sometimes it was pretty tough.



“Quite the night for heavy thoughts.” Someone’s voice floated into the meadow. She yelped and nearly fell off the stone, looking around. Standing on the other side of flickering coin was a shadow of a man. She could make out boots and a coat, but that was it. The little light did more to hide him than reveal him. Still, Aloise stared, excitement growing. So it had been true!



“Oh, wow!” She stood up, and walked towards the figure, but he held up a hand.



“Easy, doll. Let’s keep our distance, yea?” She stopped in her tracks at his request, but bobbed slightly, grinning. The man seemed to hesitate for a moment, then continued to speak. “Name’s Fisco Vane-”



“I’m Aloise!” She blurted out sharply, then cleared her throat. “Aloise Hartley. It’s nice to meet you, Fisco! Or, uh. Mr. Vane, if you prefer?”



The shadow was silent for a very long time, but Aloise figured he could take all the time he needed.



“...Fisco is fine.” He said. “So… Aloise… What can I do for you?” She grinned, and raised her hand.



“Oh, so much! But first, may I give us a little light? I want to get a good look at you.” She wiggled her fingers to indicate the light would be of a magical nature, and Fisco seemed to understand. He grunted in what she assumed was assent, and she might have seen him nod? She cast the light spell, which threw a small white orb into the air above her head.



Hm. She had not expected him to be so short. Or look so grumpy.



He looked just like an older man. His hair was perfectly slicked back, and oiled just enough to seem cared for but not slimy. His nose was straight, but a little flat, and his cheekbones were wide, but deep. The shadows caught on the crevasses of his face and clung, accentuating his already sharp features. They filled in the spaces between his wrinkles, which perforated his face around the eyes and mouth, indicating they were from worry rather than age. He looked intelligent, well-traveled, and most of all, non-plussed.



She was not sure what she was expecting a knowledge spirit to look like, but she had experience with her expectations being defied before.



Fisco raised an eyebrow.



“...You’re a little younger than most of my clientele.” He muttered. Aloise shrugged happily.



“That’s a word you don’t hear a lot around here.” Aloise told him. “Clientele. You really must be what they say you are.” Fisco’s eyes flashed, and he reached into his jacket. Aloise watched his hand with interest, and nearly yelped once more when he produced a cigar. And not just any cigar - that was a Jakkardian Smokey! The ones that were left on the plane were jealously guarded, she had been told there were only three left. How had he gotten one? Was he…?



Fisco stooped and lifted the coin, then held the small flame to the cigar. It lit almost instantly.



“How did you do that?” She almost took a step closer to look at the cigar, but remembered his warning and stayed in her place. Fisco’s hand stopped halfway to his mouth, and he regarded her with a furrowed brow.



“My coin, my rules, doll.” He puffed on the priceless cigar nonchalantly, and tucked the still flaming coin into his pocket. “I know you’ve been messing with it.” He mentioned, giving her a point look.



“Sorry!” She put up her hands, then clasped them together. “It was just such an interesting little enchantment, I couldn’t figure out how it worked. Really, the spellwork may be small, but it was excellent.” Smoke trickled from the corners of Fisco’s half-opened mouth slowly.



“...Thanks.” The smoke trailed behind him harmlessly, and she was glad for that. She had learned plenty about cigars, but she still did not like the smoke. “So, like I said, what can I do for you?”



“I just have a few questions-” She patted her leather vest, searching for the pocket that contained her list.



“No questions.” Fisco stated. Aloise froze.



“Um. Why not?” She still pulled the list out of her pocket, but stared at Fisco for askance.



“I don’t do questions, doll. I do solutions.”



“But I was told-” She began, but suddenly the shadows around Fisco deepened, and it seemed as though the faint, glowing of the cigar was the only thing that lit the area around him.



“Yes, let’s start there. What were you told?” Fisco’s voice was gravelly and menacing. Aloise opened her mouth, then closed it again. This certainly seemed ominous, but was it just for show? She took a deep breath. It was as Lys had always taught her. Feel the fear but don’t be controlled by it. She felt like she was in danger, but was she really?



“I was told you would answer my questions, but I only got a few.” She lifted her parchment to show the enshadowed Fisco. “So I wrote them down.” The shadow died down, and he appeared to be a small, old man once more. Fisco held out his hand for the paper, and she gave it to him. He flipped it open quickly and skimmed it.



“...These questions have nothing to do with me.” He handed the paper back to her, then sighed as he removed the cigar from his mouth. He chucked it on the ground and stamped it out, shaking his head.



“...Is something wrong?” She asked. He seemed agitated. He glanced up at her and rolled her eyes.



“Yes.” He spat. “You’ve been set up. I don’t know what you think I am, but I’m not whatever it is. You were lied to.”



“So… What are you?”At that question, Fisco paused. He watched Aloise for a long time, though he did not seem puzzled or angry. He simply… looked at her.



“Did you really come out, alone, to this field every night, lighting a mysterious coin, to summon something that would answer a few questions for you?” She had to admit, that sounded a little foolish. But she had done stranger things.



“Yes.” She replied honestly. “And you asked how you could help me, so I sort of assumed that you… could.”



Fisco’s mouth thinned into a small line, but then his face relaxed, and he shrugged.



“You got me there.” He admitted. “But I don’t do anything for free. I know the answer to a few of those questions, but you’ll have to pay me up front.”



“With what?” She asked, slightly wary. Fisco gazed at her flatly.



“Gold?” He offered, along with his palm.



“Why does a spirit need money?” This was a problem; she did not have any of her money on her. What little she did have was back at the inn she was staying at.



“I’m not a spirit!” Fisco snapped. “I’m a man who likes gold. Now pay up, or ship out.” A man, huh? Well. At least his guise was not some sort of clever illusion. That was… disappointing.



“Um… Do you think we could barter? Maybe, trade? Answer for an answer?”



Then, Fisco gave her this sort of look. She could not really place it. It was almost like he was dumbfounded, but without the “dumb”. Like he could not believe what she was saying, and yet, here she was, saying it. But it was less a crisis of belief and more like he was… affronted, maybe? Offended, almost? A sort of “How is she actually talking to me like this” look. Yes, that summed it up nicely - now she just needed a word to go along with it. She would read up on it later.



“...Alright, that seems fair.” He stuck his hand out, and she realized quickly that she was supposed to shake it, so she did. Fisco seemed satisfied with that. “Who gave you my coin?” He asked immediately.



“ A man named Bjorn, he was visiting the inn that I am staying at.” Fisco’s face remained unchanged at the revelation. “Where’d you get a Jakkardian Smokey? I didn’t know they even had cigars on this plane.” At her question, his eyebrows shot up.



“...Good eye.” He muttered, and narrowed his eyes, sizing her up. “I had it made, but the brand is out of production so I kept a couple crates for myself.” He sniffed. “Why did Bjorn give you my coin?” He seemed pretty bent on the coin, but what he had just said astounded her. Had it made? How had he even gotten hold of it? Was there really some sort of interplanar cigar smuggling cartel?



“I was asking him some questions, and he offered me the coin as a way to contact a spirit of knowledge for the answers. But that it would only answer a few of my questions.” Which had proved disappointingly untrue, but it seemed to have the desired result. So, success! Maybe. She still had not gotten to her original questions, but Fisco just seemed so much more fascinating… He seemed to be pondering what she had just told him, so she decided to ask her next question. “How did you get here?” She asked. Fisco smirked.



“I walked.” He said. Aloise almost shouted, but managed to control her excitement. He could not be… Just one more question. “Where is Bjorn now?” He asked.



“He headed into the mountains to hunt for pelts.” She responded quickly. She was positive that was his next question, and was glad to be right. “Are you a planeswalker?” She asked hurriedly, grinning.



Fisco’s eyes hardened, the lines around them tightened, and his frown deepened.



“...That. Is the wrong sort of question, Aloise Hartley.” He murmured lowly, and Aloise suddenly had the intense feeling that something was wrong. Something was very wrong about this whole thing. Her eagerness had gotten in the way of her really seeing it, but Fisco Vane - this man - was something dangerous. Something… not to be trifled with. She was uncertain if she could escape him if things went south…



And yet…



He was just a man, he had said. A man who likes gold.



His eyes were black as jet in the night, and his look brooked no argument nor gave any mercy.



Aloise remembered suddenly a story Lys had told her, many years ago.



“I’m a planeswalker.” Aloise said. Fisco’s gazed remained unchanged, but he stepped away and raised his hand. She held up both hers. “I thought you might be too, when I saw the cigar.” She told him. He was silent. “I was hoping we could be friends.” Fisco lowered his hand, then shook himself.



“...You’re stupid, doll.” He said, and turned away. “Perky, I guess. But stupid. If you’re going to be wandering the eternities, perk down and ditch the stupid. It’ll get you killed.” He started to walk away.



“Hey, wait-” A wall of smoke flared up in front of her as she tried to follow him, and she threw her hands in front of her face. She fell backwards, coughing, and when her vision cleared, she saw Fisco standing over her, framed a dark void framed by the stars.



“This is what I mean. I could kill you, Aloise. No doubt Bjorn suspected I would. He made the mistake of thinking he understood what I’m about.” He paused as she tried to stand up, and whipped out his hand. She froze. “He doesn’t get to learn from his mistake.” Fisco lowered his hand. “You do.” And he turned to walk away once more. Aloise opted not to follow him, this time.



“Goodbye, Fisco Vane!” She called after him, watching him vanish into the brush and the night. He, unsurprisingly, did not respond. She lay back in the grass where she had fallen. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and she grinned to herself. She had met another planeswalker for the first time! And he was so different from her - just like regular people! How many more were there! And what did they know? What did Fisco know? He had probably seen so much - frankly, she was jealous.



Wait, had he called her stupid?



She shot up and stared after where Fisco had walked off to.



“I’m not stupid!” She shouted at the night, then huffed angrily. What a lousy man!



Aloise stood, after calming down, and left the meadow yawning. Today had been fun, and she needed some sleep. It was back to the inn for her. She may not have learned what she had wanted to, but she had learned something nonetheless, and that was good enough.



***


A day later, Fisco was staring into a small Fire, late at night, thinking. Bjorn’s carcass had ceased kicking a few minutes ago. Now it hung from the tree like a well-behaved corpse should. He had plucked out his eyes afterward, and thrown them in the fire. They boiled angrily as he watched, uninterested. He poked at the fire with a long stick, not thinking about how he had hung Bjorn from the tree. Not thinking about how the eyelessness fed a local superstition of blind shadow creatures preying on hunters for their sight. Not thinking about making sure he was paid the dues Bjorn owed him or how he had tried to dodge the Shark.



He was thinking about how he had never answered that last, stupid question.



***


Aloise went down for breakfast a few days later, washed up and ready to explore a little more before returning home. She sat down at a small table, and the innkeeper, a young man named Bertholdt, informed her that a package had come for her last night. He placed the small parcel on the table and, though curious, she thanked Bertholdt and waited from him to leave before opening it. It was wrapped in simple brown paper and twine, and simple read For Aloise.



She unwrapped it. A small, wooden boxed. She opened that. A folded piece of paper.



And beneath it, the small coin with the hole in the center. Aloise grinned, and unfolded the paper.



Yes.



Was all it read, until she flipped it over.



In case you need any more questions answered. Gold next time, I don’t barter.



Aloise folded the note, humming to herself, and tucked it into her vest. The coin went into her pocket. She remembered again the story Lys, that old, wise, sage, had told her all those years ago. The story about the flint eyed monster scared people away from his bridge. About how the monster just wanted someone to talk to. About how the monster just wanted a friend.



She left the box on the table, and checked out of the inn. She needed to return home and tell Lys what she had learned.



Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:08 am 
Offline
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep 25, 2013
Posts: 10689
Location: Kamloops, BC
Identity: Male
Great story! Fisco/Aloise interactions are hilarious. They contrast each other so perfectly.

Then, Fisco gave her this sort of look. She could not really place it. It was almost like he was dumbfounded, but without the “dumb”. Like he could not believe what she was saying, and yet, here she was, saying it. But it was less a crisis of belief and more like he was… affronted, maybe? Offended, almost? A sort of “How is she actually talking to me like this” look. Yes, that summed it up nicely - now she just needed a word to go along with it. She would read up on it later.
It says a lot about Fisco's philosophy that he's offended at the notion of somebody not playing by his own cut throat rules. The idea that he might be wrong about how the world works, or that somebody might be getting away thriving in the sort of naive joy he dismisses really bothers him.

How young is Aloise in this story?

Finally and most importantly, there are some typos in this story.
Aloise folded the note, humming to herself, and tucked it into her vest. The coin went into her pocket. She remembered again the story Lys, that old, wise, sage, had told her all those years ago. The story about the flint-eyed monster that scared people away from his bridge.

_________________
Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

TPrizesW
TPortfolioW


Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:16 am 
Online
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep 22, 2013
Posts: 8768
TPmanW wrote:
How young is Aloise in this story?

This is actually something of a running joke in the M:EM. We don't know how old Aloise is, and she refuses to tell us...


Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:12 am 
Offline
Member
User avatar

Joined: Nov 04, 2013
Posts: 5028
TPmanW wrote:
How young is Aloise in this story?

This is actually something of a running joke in the M:EM. We don't know how old Aloise is, and she refuses to tell us...

I always like that little joke in "Aloise's Birthday," when Fisco asks how old she is, and everyone just sort of shrugs. :D

Anyway, Ruwin will have to weigh-in with the official word, but I always read Aloise as being maybe in her early 20s in this story?

_________________
"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:40 am 
Offline
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep 25, 2013
Posts: 10689
Location: Kamloops, BC
Identity: Male
Considering it's the first time she meets anotherwalker, and just the level of hyperactive excitement, I was wondering if Aloise was but a wee lass. I was thinking tween.

_________________
Cato wrote:
CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

TPrizesW
TPortfolioW


Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:20 pm 
Offline
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep 25, 2013
Posts: 1159
Oh jeez, I never would have seen this without some luck so I'm glad I did...!

...Almost a full month later. Well. Better late than never.

Looks like I wrote in the dossier that Aloise ascended when she was twelve. (Wow.) The Dossier also says that the Enlightened encouraged her to visit many worlds when they learned she was a Planeswalker. Knowing Lys, (who happens to be the person who found Aloise outside the walls) she probably didn't let Aloise go and do her signature exploring until she had come of age. (and had access to more potent magic.)

So, we know Aloise was twelve at SOME point.

We also know she probably spent 5-6 years training with the enlightened. Magic, proper research techniques, field etiquette, how to take notes, that sort of thing...

So we know that Aloise was PROBABLY no younger than 18 during this story. We also know this is the earliest story we have as far as her personal timeline goes. (If you didn't know that you do now.) We ALSO know she looks old enough in this story to rent a room at an inn without someone asking too many questions or even bothering her about it much.

She measures time in her native lunar calendar, and she seems to believe Beryl is older than she is. While I'm not certain how old Beryl was when they met, I believe she refers to Aloise in "A Bet on Kindness" as the "younger" woman at least once.

SO knowing all that I would say that Aloise was definitely a young woman in this story. Anywhere between 18-24 would be a solid guess. 25-26 would be pushing it from a timeline perspective, because we know its only about a few months to a year between when Beryl meets Aloise and when Beryl returns looking for Fisco, and Aloise had already set up a strange sort of rapport with Fisco by then.

Fisco's slow to trust, so factor that in, and well...

This is starting to seem like a conspiracy theory.

18-24. Final answer.

_________________
Don't you have anything better to do?


Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:06 am 
Online
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep 22, 2013
Posts: 8768
She's 327 years old...

...in Segovian years...


Like this post
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group